Netwalking – a new approach to networking

Our inaugural blog centres on taking some of our own medicine. Yesterday I was able to combine a visit to some friends, much missed through lockdown, with a wonderful business networking walk across Lansdowne Hill just outside Bath, led by Al Kennedy and Garry Pratt from outside.business. The weather wasn’t encouraging. It rained the whole time and we had 45mph winds to assist us – perhaps the reason that half of those booked on decided to opt for a lie-in, and why our 3 hour walk took less than 2 and a half! But our small group had all been looking at the forecast for several days, so we were mentally prepared for it and dressed appropriately. 

We set off across a field full of sheep and then began to climb. The path was beginning to turn into a stream but wasn’t too slippy, and the incline was steep enough to let you know you were working, but not so sharp that you couldn’t continue your conversation – albeit there were times when it was a bit breathy. Despite the low clouds, meaning that we couldn’t see the bridges into Wales, the views as we climbed – and particularly from the top by the racecourse – were fabulous! Inspiring! Our route down did bring some slippery moments, and my courage was tested as we walked through a field with a bull in residence (seriously out of my comfort zone!). The time flew and I felt so energised afterwards.

There are so many metaphors that resonate for the journey that we’re now on as we launch this new business. There’s much to reflect on. More than that though, I made some great new contacts: a couple directly connected to the sphere we’re working in and a couple of others from different sectors. As someone who has to take a deep breath before diving into the more usual business networking gatherings, this was quite literally a breath of fresh air! The easy way of falling in step with a complete stranger, finding out a little of their story, and inevitably finding some authentic connection with their world – this kind of networking is so much less intimidating, and so much more effective. Brace yourselves, Essex and Suffolk – business netwalking is coming to you really soon!

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